Your Crusty Buildup Could Cost You
Hard water is a water quality problem that affects over 85% of households in the U.S., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It is due to high concentrations of dissolved minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, that naturally occur in groundwater. Hard water is generally not harmful to your health, but it is a nuisance that requires frequent cleaning to remove the orange-reddish, white, yellow, or black stains it leaves behind in your sinks and tubs, toilets, and other items like clothing and dishware. It also costs more money than most homeowners realize on soap and detergent, gas or electricity, water consumption, and plumbing problems. Here are some of the hidden costs of hard water.
Reduces Water Heater Useful Life
The high mineral content in hard water causes scale deposits to buildup inside the unit. Over time, these deposits form a crust on the heating element. As the sediments continue to accumulate, it will slowly impact their performance. You may notice that it takes more time for the water to reach the desired temperature, and the water may be warm instead of hot. Hard water increases energy consumption by as much as 30% and consumes more water too. The reduced efficiency also takes its toll on the water heater cutting its 15-year useful life nearly in half. A 2009 study by the Water Quality Association Foundation found that water heaters using hard water lost up to 48% of their efficiency compared to water heaters using soft water. The average replacement cost for a water heater is $1,176, based on a HomeAdvisor survey.
Damages Major Appliances
Hard water is just as damaging to major appliances like the dishwasher and washing machine. The calcium deposits reduce the performance and efficiency of major appliances requiring more water, energy, and detergent in every cycle. Recent studies have shown that washing machines and dishwashers using hard water consume over 50% more detergent than appliances using soft water. Hard water also causes spotty glasses and silverware, which is why many households buy rinse-aids. The scale deposits also clog plumbing, fittings, and other internal components, shortening its useful life by as much as 30%. The average replacement cost for a dishwasher and washing machine is $670 and $445, respectively.
Staining Laundry and Plumbing Fixtures
A household that does four loads of laundry per week spends approximately $261.60 per year on laundry. The additional energy, water, and detergent consumption when using hard water increase laundry costs by 20% to 30%. That ugly orange or black streaks that appear on your laundry can be quite costly when it ruins expensive clothing. You might find yourself sending some of your laundries to the cleaners, increasing your laundry bill even further. Those same hard water stains also appear on your tubs, showers, sinks, and toilets, which require more frequent scrubbing and cleaning products to get rid of them.
Clogs Water Pipes
Hard water minerals are also damaging to plumbing. The scale deposits accumulate inside water pipes and reduce water pressure. The buildup can also cause clogs in the pipes requiring more frequent calls to your plumber.
It All Adds Up
When you add it all up, hard water can be taking a big bite out of your household budget. Here’s a breakdown of the average annual cost of the effects of hard water.
- Energy Consumption: $60.00
- Soaps and Detergents: $43.57
- Laundry: $78.48
- Cleaning Supplies: $92.65
- Replacing worn clothing/laundered items: $240.60
- Plumbing repairs: $150
- Water heater early replacement: $156.80
- Dishwasher early replacement: $79.18
- Washing Machine early replacement: $57.85
- Toilet early replacement: $60.00
The estimated annual cost of hard water: $1,019.13 per year or $84.93 per month.
Save Money with Soft Water
Installing a water softener system will remove the hard water minerals, increasing your major appliances’ useful life and saving you a lot of money. It will also protect your plumbing and reduce energy consumption. Your laundry will come out cleaner and brighter, and you will also spend less time and money cleaning your kitchen and bathroom. What will you do with the time and money you will save?